Culture, the Best Internship Takeaway of All

August 13, 2021 | By Jada Merritt, Noise 13 Intern

Into the Unknown

I was familiar with several of Noise 13’s projects before considering to apply for an internship – many of which I had seen on Instagram and various design blogs. After being invited to join the team, I was so excited to meet the designers behind this work and learn from their processes. Other goals for this summer internship were to strengthen my design abilities and learn new skills to support my projects when I returned to school.

I never really gave much thought to the impact of “culture” I’d experience during my time here. Because this internship was remote, I wondered how well I’d fit in here when all my interactions were happening over Slack and Google Meet. But from my first interview, to my last day here, every person at Noise 13 reinforced the values of the team and proved they truly cared about their clients, the quality of work and, above all, about each other.

Through weekly meetings and check ins, I got to know everyone on the team really well. I’m pretty shy, but being at such a small studio, it’s hard to go unnoticed! The designers and PMs always checked in and showed consistent patience while helping me learn from whatever project I was assigned. I was lucky enough to be involved in a variety of projects, both internal and client-based. The first project involved working with Elaine and Xiaoxiao to build out mobile versions of Noise 13’s upcoming website.

I also worked on a new set of templates for presentations and social media posts with Andre’ and Jane. These initial projects were a great place to start since they helped familiarize me with Noise’s brand and also get used to correct file naming and organization. I really enjoyed supporting client projects as well, my favorites being the Fiat Lux website and illustrations for Instacart. Being able to partner with and learn from every designer on the Noise 13 team was incredibly eye opening, especially since most of them started as interns themselves.

Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

One big lesson I’ve learned here is that this supportive environment doesn’t just happen. The team has many processes for building morale, encouraging creativity, and making sure everything is running smoothly.

I’ll never forget the welcome card that was made for me when I first started: each person took the time to write a short message inviting me to the team. I was really touched, and it made my nerves about my first day a bit calmer. The welcome card tradition also extends to all sorts of celebrations and milestones, too.

Something that contributes to the creative culture is the “Imagination Station” meeting held each Thursday. It’s a chance for the designers to share and discuss work we’ve found throughout the week that inspires us, is interesting, or is something we want to critique. It’s also a great way to cross-pollinate new ideas, see trends in design, and get to hear fresh perspectives. Andre, the Associate Creative Director, also shares design tips that he finds on TikTok throughout the week to keep up the creativity and team interaction.

Another really beneficial thing about the Noise 13 Internship Program is the mentor every intern is assigned to from the start. My mentor was Zili, and I was so lucky to be able to learn from her! We got to chat every week about how things were going; she helped me navigate client requirements, internal processes and just check in to make sure I was doing okay. It made all the difference in my ability to ask essential questions as they arose, which is huge, especially at a fast paced agency!

Building Great Culture Pays Off

Building this type of culture takes work and willingness from the team, but the outcome creates more space for renewed and refreshed creativity. In my short time here, the design team not only championed my creativity, but also my confidence. From Imagination Station to design TikToks (and Slack’s selection of GIFs and Emojis) there were plenty of opportunities to chime in, react to something, and join the discussion.

I am so grateful for this experience and the hundreds of meaningful interactions I’ve had these past few months with everyone at Noise 13. Even though my experience was remote, I could not have asked for a more supportive and encouraging team. I want to especially thank Zili and the other designers for their patience with me as I got up to speed with everything. As a student, I’m glad I could gain this invaluable insight into how an agency like Noise 13 operates day to day. Now I know what to expect once I graduate, and have a clear plan to develop the skills I still need to work on as I return to school next month! Thank you Noise 13!

I’ll miss you ♡